Politics, we’re told, is the art of compromise. If compromise is an art it must be good! Management and Unions in dispute situations quite often state “We’re sure a reasonable compromise can be reached”. If compromise is reasonable it must be good! But is it?
In a way we have been brainwashed into thinking that compromise is the right solution in conflict situations. Compromise is effective in managing conflict in the short term. But it doesn’t resolve conflict or provide a lasting solution. This is because compromise is a lose/lose solution (both sides surrender something to move the situation on) – or at its very best it is a very weak win/win solution (both sides gain a little). It is a low level accommodation – an armistice.
Compromise in a way produces a distorted outcome, one that neither side wanted ideally. So is there a better way? Yes – and it’s called “The 3rd Alternative”, and this is the title of Stephen R. Covey’s latest book. (And most likely his last he says – he’s now 80!)
The book is very readable (like Covey’s other best-sellers) and is essentially about the mind-set and skills required to resolve conflict in a way that produces a higher and better solution than either protagonist envisioned in the first place. This entails a collaborative search for a solution where nobody gives up anything and where everybody wins – a win/win solution in the richest sense of the phrase.
In its pages are many examples of creative solutions from the organisational world, community issues and personal and family life showing how the most difficult problems can be solved in a way that brings peace, greater mutual understanding and even healing. It is well worth a read – if you really want to avoid the cop out of compromise.
If you would like to discuss how to resolve costly organisational conflicts give us a call on 01-2788 727 or e-mail: email@example.com.